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"MTV.com - Artificial Intelligence Indulge In Alien Sex On Debut"

Aug 22 2002 8:21 AM EDT

Artificial Intelligence Indulge In Alien Sex On Debut
Group's keyboardist influenced by his dad, Ray Manzarek of the Doors.
By Gil Kaufman

Here comes Artificial Intelligence. No, it's not the Steven Spielberg sci-fi flick ... though, come to think of it, there is some alien sex involved.

Artificial Intelligence, also foreshortened to the more familiar "a.i.," are a three-piece Los Angeles jam band that has nothing to do with the beloved director or endless, noodly riffing.

"We want to play instruments, we don't want them to play us," said singer/guitarist Nick Young, 26, who started the band with his younger brother, drummer Zack, in the rec room of their parents' Hollywood home when the two were just out of grade school. "Only one person at a time can sit in front of a computer making music, so when you get three guys in a room playing together ... you don't think as much, you're just feeling it."

Along with keyboardist/synth bassist Pablo Manzarek — yes, that Manzarek, son of the famed Doors keyboardist, Ray — the brotherly duo has created a self-titled debut album (August 27) that's geared for both rock and dance clubs. Nick's soaring, helium shaman vocals are reminiscent of both Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell and Prince, while the beat-heavy songs incorporate elements of jungle, soul, dub, Rage Against the Machine-like rock and sexy funk. Though the sound is thoroughly modern, it was achieved in a quaintly old-fashioned way.

The trio spent six weeks rehearsing their songs before entering the studio with former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna (who's also done production work for U2, Smashing Pumpkins and Green Day, among others) to record the 13 spiritually influenced tracks about breakups, big

booties, road rage, funerals, plane crashes and whales. They knew what "bells and whistles" Vrenna could add to their sound, but, Nick said, what they really wanted him to do was help capture the energy of their live playing, without too much computer trickery.

It was in keeping with a work ethic they developed when first hooking up with Manzarek in 1996. The brothers were forever in search of a third member to fill out the group and knew they found their match when they met Manzarek. "Pablo and I were the only guys left when all our friends went to college," Nick said.

Though he originally played drums as a kid, Manzarek, 28, decided to give keyboards a try upon meeting the Youngs. What he didn't realize, though, was that the style he would adopt — playing bass lines with one hand and crafting melodies on the keyboard with the other — was the exact same method used by his dad in the Doors.

"I don't know if it's hereditary," Manzarek said. "It just sort of came to me. But it doesn't bother me that people ask questions about it. I mean, of course my dad came down and checked out what we were doing and helped out a bit on songs. He was a big influence for everybody."

The trio started practicing together, mostly working up long psychedelic jams that would eventually be shaped into the album's more concise, if still a bit twisted, pop songs.

"There were times when we'd go way off into outer space and then try to bring it all back home and have it make sense," Zack, 24, said of those early sessions. What he learned during the endless wanderings was that, while he loved the synthetic sound of the hip-hop beats he'd been making for years, the band wanted to make sure it could reproduce the songs live without using pre-recorded tracks or sequencers. Zack's solution was an elaborate matrix of live drumming and triggered drum effects that give songs such as the booming "One Man's War" and the outer space funk rocker "There U Go" their polyrhythmic effects.

The Youngs didn't exactly come by their major-label debut through the usual combo of hardscrabble clubbing and dumb luck, though. When the pool guy didn't show up one day, his replacement happened to be an "amazing" guitar teacher who Nick said inspired the siblings to pursue their dreams.

The boys played a few shows around L.A., but they concentrated more on putting together a demo, which, "somehow," found its way to David Geffen's house. That led to producer Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash) dropping by to check them out. "I had no idea that all these record labels were all right around our house," Nick said. "At first it was really scary, because all these people start coming over to see you and you think, 'What do I have that all these people want? Maybe I should protect it.' "

What they heard was tracks like "Alien Sex," a sneaky calypso-meets-robotic-Prince freak-out which features lines about tentacles in places you can only imagine. The track was birthed on a day when the air conditioning broke down in the boys' home rehearsal space, according to Nick. "There are times when you're making hot, sweaty love and you forget everything else that's going on," he - MTV.com

"The Best Music of 2002 You Might Not Have Heard"

A.I., Artificial Intelligence: This Los Angeles trio features some of the most inventive stylistic combinations and musical arrangements that I’ve heard in some time. While its debut incorporates a large amount of electronica and technical apparatuses into the group’s edgy rock undertone, nothing is sampled or sequenced; it’s all played live. And there’s definitely musicianship in the blood, as keyboardist Pablo Manzarek is the spawn of, you guessed it, The Doors’ legendary keys player Ray. Interestingly, Pablo also plays the synth-bass with his left hand like dad used to. Brothers Nick (vocals, guitar) and Zach (drums) Young (I don’t think Neil’s involved with this one, but maybe Neil himself doesn’t even know) round out the group, and their musicianship is also phenomenal. While Zach’s kicking the beats, Nick’s Perry Farrell-meets-Prince vocal stylings are a familiar yet unique complement to a genre that the band has dubbed “rocktronic.” This album is worth checking out for the originality alone, but when the songs are good too, you’ve got a real winner. – Tom Swanson
- River Cities' Reader

"CMJ New Music Monthly - August 2002"

http://www.aimusic.com/2002press/CMJNewMusicMonthly.2002.Aug.jpg - CMJ

"Blender, September 2002"

Blender, September 2002

Showbiz kids from Los Angeles mix Prince with machine beats, endorse Alien Sex --

Like the identically named Steven Spielberg film, A.I. mesh the industrial and the human. These three privileged sons -- two descend from Hollywood
director Robert M. Young, the other from Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek -- mix soul, funk and earthy rock on their debut. They give props to Prince and Jane's Addiction with blissful melodies, staccato beats and over-the-top
falsetto singing, especially on "Alien Sex," one of the year's coolest dance songs. - Blender Magazine

"Guitar World, Dec. 2007"



Album: Sex & Robots

The Sound: Danceable, New-Wave influenced rock

History: Los Angeles trio A.i. - vocalist/guitarist Nick Young, synth bass/keyboardist Milen Kirov and drummer Zack Young - explore post modern concepts of artificial intelligence and man/machine interaction within the digital-age love songs on Sex & Robots. Dig Young's painfully cool rhythm guitar work and Kirov's vintage sounding analog monosynth lines.

Talkbox: "Rock and roll is about taking chances, and experimentation has always been critical to our songwriting," says Young. "With this record, the experimentation was in service to the songs." - Guitar World

"Hustler Jan 08 Dirty Dozen Album Pick of the Month"

"Goddamn, this record makes us wanna do all kinds of crazy-ass shit like actually dance in public. It's rock meets synth pop in a brilliant debut packed with sleaze, grime and beats. This just might be the CD to put on as we watch our girlfriend bump and grind like a stripper." - Hustler Magazine / Flynt Publications

"Los Angeles Times Jan 24 Buzz Band"

“Earlier in the evening, with two-thirds of the band under the weather, glammy trio A.i. played its synthed-up rock to a modest crowd of folks who like that sort of thing, including model types with positively mystifyingly long hair. Front man Nick Young, taking advantage of his wireless mic and guitar, shimmied in front of the stage with an admirer. A fitting scene for a band whose album is titled “Sex & Robots.� - Kevin Bronson, Buzz Bands - Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles Times

"Modern Drummer Feb 08 "Kit of the Month""

View the article here:
http://aimusic.com/?p=50 - Modern Drummer

"U Magazine Jan 08 - Hot New Band"

“This hot new band out of LA is made up of brothers Nick and Zack Young and friend Milen Kirov. Determined not to let a record company tell them how to make their music, this band is unsigned and proud of it. While essentially a rock band, the guys make their music with an electronic twist, using unique equipment both cutting edge and older gear from the 60’s and 70’s. The band has a totally experimental sound, sometimes sounding like Prince, sometimes Bono and all the time like A.i. Check them out at aimusic.com or myspace.com/ai or log on to collegeradio.com to watch our exclusive interview with the band. -SG� - U Magazine


A.i. - Artificial Intelligence, DreamWorks Records, August 2002
A.i. - Sex & Robots, A.i. Music, September 2007



"Take a chance, live it up, rub it down, lick it up, fluff it good, play around I'm down!" cries out singer/guitarist Nick Young on "Hey Now!", the opening track on A.i.'s new album Sex & Robots (released September 2007 on A.i. Music, Inc.).

"A.i. is first and foremost a rock band," says drummer Zack Young, "but electronic drums and synthesizers are an integral part of our sound." Zack's setup consists of a traditional rock drumset mixed with electronic triggers which allow him to perform live. "We play everything in the moment without using sequencers or backing tracks. That's one of the things that has always made A.i. special."

A.i. stands for "artificial intelligence," a retro-futuristic concept now woven into the daily fabric of our lives. A.i., the band, is living that post-Space Age wet dream, commingling the analog and the digital, the organic and the synthetic, the muscle and the machine.

Rich Mouser, who worked with Chris Vrenna on A.i.'s first album Artificial Intelligence, co-produced, engineered and mixed Sex & Robots at his studio, the Mouse House [Altadena, Calif.]. "Rich has equipment dating back to the 60s and totally cutting-edge stuff we didn't have when we recorded our first album. He's got timpani's and 80s drum machines," Zack continues. Nick relates: "I recently had this dream that Rich was at the mixing board and all the knobs had turned into Silly Putty, and he was shaping our sound." Those sounds inspired much of their songwriting.

A.i.'s penchant for experimentation ran rampant in the studio. Nick ventures: "Rock n' roll is about taking chances and experimentation has always been critical to our songwriting. But with this record, the experimentation was in service of the songs." Indeed, Sex & Robots electro-rock tracks like "Hey Now!," "Tell Me U Luv Me," "Don't Run", "Far Away" and "Kiss the Sky" are first-listen-sing-along catchy.

"We live for that transcendent moment of connecting with our audience," says Nick.